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Ford preps for a coronavirus vaccine, buys big freezers

The Pfizer vaccine requires ultracold storage at negative 94 degrees Fahrenheit, and Ford wants to make sure it's ready.

Ford wants to help workers have access to a vaccine.
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Ford took a crucial step to ensure its workers have access to a coronavirus vaccine, when pharma companies and the US government roll it out nationally, with the purchase of 12 freezers, Reuters reported Tuesday. The special freezers will be able store the Pfizer vaccine, likely the first vaccine that will be approved for distribution in the US, at its required temperature of negative 94 degrees Fahrenheit.

The fact Pfizer's vaccine requires such cold temperatures, far chillier than a typical vaccine, may cause some havoc for those preparing to vaccinate the American public. Ford's move appears aimed at ensuring essential factory workers have access to the vaccine to help keep operations running smoothly. 

"The health and safety of our workforce is our top priority," a representative for the automaker told Roadshow in a statement. "We ordered a dozen freezers to make a COVID-19 vaccine available to our employees on a voluntary basis when it becomes available." The company also underscored the numerous procedures and safety protocols required of employees to ensure all workers' health.

Ford currently implements strict COVID-19 screening protocols for workers arriving and leaving its assembly plants. They include a daily health survey, daily temperature scans, required use of masks at all times and safety glasses with side shields or a face shield. According to Reuters, the automaker has partnered with local health care providers to administer COVID-19 tests when deemed necessary. 

Automakers by and large have done a tremendous job of slowing the spread inside factories, which became a key concern back in March of this year. Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler all shut their operations down for two months to slow the spread of the virus. Numerous other automakers doing business in the US followed suit and no automaker reported major spikes in the virus' spread -- a sign rigorous screenings and other protocols are highly effective.

Pfizer applied for an emergency use authorization with the US Food and Drug Administration this week, and it's expected approval will come early next month. While details on the vaccine's rollout aren't yet clear, health care workers and first responders are the most likely candidates to receive the vaccine first.

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